Since coming off of a 14-month layoff, Bricks and Mortar has done no wrong and the 5-year-old son of Giant's Causeway continued his winning ways in Saturday's Grade 1 Manhattan.
The Chad Brown trainee made his triumphant comeback against allowance company over the turf at Gulfstream Park in December before taking the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf. Following a narrow victory in the Grade 2 Muniz Memorial at Fair Grounds, Bricks and Mortar built on that success, winning the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.
In the Manhattan, Bricks and Mortar laid sixth early on under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and went four wide around the turn, taking the 1 ¼ mile event over the inner turf by 1 ½ lengths. Bricks and Mortar recorded a 106 Beyer Speed Figure for the win.
"He had an early start in December and to keep it going at this level, it's just been a remarkable run," Brown said. "There are a lot of Grade 1s next to his name and on the turf that's hard to do. He takes good care of himself. I know he had that long break and he had some injuries, but he's been back and he trains kindly. He doesn't train too fast, he really takes good care of himself. He's a very smart horse and I think that is a big part of his success as well."
Brown scored the trifecta in the Manhattan, running second and third with Grade 1-winners Robert Bruce and Raging Bull.
Bricks and Mortar was purchased for $200,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by Stone Farm. He spent his down time at Stonestreet Training Center in Ocala, Florida. Brown spoke highly of Stonestreet, and credited them for helping develop Bricks and Mortar into a top-class runner.
"Mike Ryan and I bought him as a yearling and he does all the scouting for us. Stonestreet broke the horse for us and they rehabbed him, every time he had an injury," Brown said. "Ian Brennan and his staff have done a remarkable job. There was one point I didn't think the horse would come back and Ian saw it through with his staff to really put a lot of time in. And when he finally sent him back, he told me 'You're good to go'. This horse is finally doing better than ever. You can't get to this level with a horse like this without a strong team top-to-bottom."
Bricks and Mortar's victory in the Manhattan was the 14th stakes victory of the meet for Brown, who won six other graded stakes events during the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.